Stargazing Nights

Stargazing Nights

Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center
Fri, Jan 5, 2024 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
$5 Suggested Donation Per Person

Welcome to the Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center's Stargazing Nights! Every Friday night (weather permitting) we open our Observatory, Science Center, Sky Theatre, and telescopes to the sky and offer free stargazing and astronomy to anybody interested in observing with us.

Tonight is the first Stargazing Night of 2024 at Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center, and forecasts continue to look promising, even if they are degrading. As of this morning, we can expect mostly clear sky conditions this evening. Our most accurate source is calling for partly-mostly cloudy conditions, which certainly could happen. But having no Moon until the 26% waning crescent rises at 2:11 am will offer us a chance at super dark sky viewing, which makes it too tempting to overlook the prospect of fabulous views. We are hopeful that 2024 will bring clearer sky conditions to our region than 2023 did.

We will open the Observatory, Science Center, and Sky Theatre at 7:00 pm tonight. In the Observatory the large 24 inch telescope will start off with views of Jupiter and Uranus, followed by spectacular views of the Orion Nebula. As the night continues we’ll rock the night sky with views of the NGC 2392 – a young white dwarf star, Messier 37 – a stunning open star cluster, NGC 2261 – Hubble’s Variable Nebula, the Messier 1 supernova remnant, and the Messier 82 starburst galaxy. In the Sky Theatre we will show our regular feature of celestial images captured at Frosty Drew Observatory. In the Science Center exhibits will be on display as usual. We will close up at 10:00 pm.

Overall, tonight has the potential to be a fantastic night. It will be quite cold out, and the wind chill can make it feel frigid. So dressing for outdoor winter conditions will be a must for visitors looking to have a comfortable experience. The Observatory building will be just as cold as the outside air but the Sky Theatre and Science Center will be toasty warm, and will serve as a place visitors can escape the cold. There is a threat of clouds, and it is credible. If clouds do move in, we will make a best effort attempt at observing brighter objects that may be visible through thinner cloud cover. Let’s hope it stays clear so we can celebrate fantastic views!

Tickets are not required for visitors to attend this event. Admission is free, though a suggested donation of $5 per person, at the event, is very appreciated.

If you are looking for that awesome astronomy thing to do or just want a night out to experience the cosmos under the darkest sky in Rhode Island, then this is your chance.

Take a moment to catch up on some fantastic space happenings this week in:
A Celebration of Space - January 5, 2024

Be sure to subscribe to the Frost Drew Observatory mailing list and follow us on Instagram to receive status updates about our Stargazing Nights program and more.

Preparing for Your Visit:

Check out our page on Visiting Frosty Drew Observatory to learn more about what to expect at the Observatory and better help you prepare for your visit.

How to Dress for Winter Conditions: The Frosty Drew Observatory is not climate controlled, and the temperature inside the dome need to match the outside air temperature for a stable telescopic view. Frosty Drew Astronomy Team members dress in layers during the winter and for a very good reason. You should consider doing the same. Please read Dressing for All-Night Winter Stargazing to familiarize yourself with adequate dressing measures.

Please note that we do not allow any white lights on our campus or in Ninigret Park from dusk - dawn, with the exception of low beam headlights while in motion. This is to ensure an equally awesome view of the night sky for all and to allow for the use of light sensitive astronomical equipment. Learn more about why we have this requirement in The Red Light District.